The Abbotsford Police Department (APD) is investigating an alleged brothel on Townline Road and expects to recommend a charge of “keeping a common bawdy house” against a 54-year-old Vancouver woman.
Const. Ian MacDonald said police began investigating the residence, located in the 2800 block of Townline near Gardner Road, after receiving complaints from neighbours, dating back to December.
A search warrant was executed at the residence on May 29 and some documents were seized, MacDonald said.
He said the house was a particular concern for police because of its proximity to an elementary school and a high school, and the potential for youth to be targeted by johns or to be sexually exploited.
MacDonald said the investigation, at this point, has not turned up any evidence of human trafficking or the involvement of youth.
He said the home was advertised as a “massage parlour,” and clients heard about it through word of mouth and online postings, including over social media.
It is not known exactly how many sex-trade workers might have been based out of the home, as they operated in shifts and would have attended and left the residence.
MacDonald said police believe that the woman running the home, who cannot be named until charges are formally laid, did not live there.
She is believed to have been running similar facilities in other communities, although she has no prior criminal record, MacDonald said.
At this point, no johns have been charged. MacDonald said these types of charges are usually laid when police use an undercover officer to pose as a sex-trade worker, and there is an exact record of money being paid in exchange for sex.
MacDonald said although there are hundreds of Abbotsford online listings for escorts and questionable “massage services,” this type of situation is not common in the community.
“Bawdy houses are still rare and low in numbers.”
The investigation, led by the APD’s major crime unit, is continuing. Anyone with information is asked to contact the APD at 604-859-5225, text 222973 (abbypd) or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.